One of the most devastating illnesses is Cancer, a malignant growth which can attack any area of the human body. As debilitating as Cancer is, there are many advanced drugs that put up a commendable fight with this monster. Treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation can completely annihilate this disease or at least prolong the life of the patient. There are many drugs, chemicals and treatments that have made the modern headlines with their advanced abilities to go even further and save more lives to boot. Since Cancer treatments are gaining this momentum, side effects are rearing their ugly heads.
Side effects of Cancer drugs
There are many side effects of cancer-fighting drugs including loss of appetite and rapid weight and hair loss. Due to these after effects, some drugs have to be discontinued. It is also true that some anti-Cancer drugs can actually cost lives because of the harmful effects of the treatment. This poses a problem for treatment centers across the globe, but science may be able to offer some hope in this aspect.
Combating the side effects
The focus is to combat the side effects while leaving the anti-Cancer drug at its full potential. Unfortunately, this is not as easy as it seems. One well known anti-Cancer drug, tyrosine kinase inhibitors Tarceva(R), has the most devastating side effects to date. This treatment is also the most powerful opponent in the battle of life or death for Cancer patients.
Since Cancer is basically an overabundance of proteins growing in tissues of the body, tyrosine kinase inhibitors, while trying to reduce the protein growth, can damage other parts of the body that have a normal amount of protein. As the drug passes through the system, everything in its path is affected as it encounters the malignancy. If the drug could be targeted only to the malignant tumor, side effects could be drastically reduced or eliminated completely.
Programing the Solution
The basic idea behind improving tyrosine kinase inhibitors is to make an inactive version of the drug. This inactive version could only be activated when it reaches the malignant growth, thus saving the body from side effects.
According to an article published in the Angewandte Chemie, a highly respected journal, a notable version of the drug has already been created. This solution starts with an inactive cobalt drug, which is activated when unhealthy tissue is in its surroundings. This information was collected and organized in the Translational Cancer Therapy Research, as a collaboration of Bernhard Keppler, dean of the University of Vienna and Walter Berger Professor of the University of Vienna. Since this study is funded by the Innovative Interdisciplinary Cancer research, there is definite hope for a more effective and less damaging anti-Cancer drug for patients.